3 smart things to do if you have a strong willed child

When we planted at church in the Texas Hill Country a cowboy in our congregation broke horses for a living – the old fashioned way. He would jump on a wild horse and hang on till the horse gave up or threw him to the ground. Crazy eh?

If you have a strong willed child you can relate perfectly. There are times you’re holding on for the ride – not sure if you or your child is going to bite the dust first.

The goal with a strong willed horse and a strong willed child is to bring the will under control without breaking their spirit. Yes, it’ll be a rough ride but worth the bruises once that unbroken spirit is channeled for good.

Here are three things to do while riding that bucking bronc of a child the Lord blessed you with.

  1. Rejoice because:
  • They’re not easy victims of peer pressure.

The same stubborn determination that compels your child to say “No” to every command you give will one day enable him or her to also say “No” to the crowd. Just like your child doesn’t mindlessly obey you they won’t mindlessly follow the crowd over a cliff.

  • A Strong-willed child tends to think outside the box.

Strong willed children usually don’t accept something as true just because some authority says it’s true. They have to learn it on their own which means they often push the limits and try new things. That can make for a hard path in life but sometimes it also means they make exciting discoveries.

Many scientific breakthroughs came about because someone refused to believe something was true just because everyone said it was. Einstein’s general theory of relativity came about because he didn’t accept the conventional wisdom about time and space.

  1. Channel it, Don’t crush it.

That’s one reason it’s so important you work to channel their strength of character rather than try to crush it. Once properly directed they can be a powerful force for good.

  1. Plant a vision for the future.

One way I tried to do this was through encouragement and planting a vision for the future in their hearts.

  • Let them know that you appreciate how God made them and that one day it will be a great blessing. God put that drive within them and though it gets them into a lot of trouble now, it will enable them to be a leader instead of just part of “the pack” when they’re older.
  • Assure them they’re not “broken” or evil – even though they seem to always be in trouble. God has a unique purpose for them and he put the energy and drive within them so they could accomplish His purpose through their life.

It can be exhausting to constantly ride the bronc but God has a plan for your child and he uniquely fashioned him/her with the character, will and spirit that is needed to accomplish that purpose. Celebrate it and hang on for the ride.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

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